Eden Hazard stepped up for Chelsea as his brace helped them get back to winning ways with a 3-0 success over West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
- Chelsea 3 West Brom 0
- Rodriguez misses two early chances
- Zappacosta denied by Foster
- Hazard scores two fine goals
- Moses beats Foster in second half
The outcome could have been very different had the Baggies taken their chances, but Antonio Conte’s side were more clinical as Hazard scored quality goals in each half while Victor Moses also got on the scoresheet to cap off a fine individual performance.
Albion kept the home crowd quiet in the opening stages with a bright start, as Jay Rodriguez – who had just replaced the injured Daniel Sturridge – fired wide with his first touch from Salomon Rondon’s lay-off in the fifth minute.
Rondon then saw his header deflected behind from Matt Phillips’ cross moments later, before Rodriguez wasted a gilt-edged chance on 10 minutes when he latched onto Moses’ poor headed back-pass and missed the target with another first-time shot with 20 yards out.
The hosts began to get a foothold in the match around the quarter-hour mark and threatened through Davide Zappacosta in the 17th minute as the Italian got on the end of Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross from the right that was meant for Olivier Giroud, with Ben Foster making a smart save at the back post.
Giroud should have done better on the 20-minute mark when Hazard picked him out with a pass on the right, but the Frenchman side-footed straight at Foster from eight yards out.
However, the former Arsenal frontman played a crucial role in the opener five minutes later as Hazard collected the ball outside the area and swapped deft passes with Giroud before slotting into the bottom-left corner of the net from 13 yards out.
Giroud went close on 35 minutes from Andreas Christensen’s header towards the back post, which he steered wide with an overhead-kick inside the six-yard box.
The Blues’ new signing directed a header well wide of the near post 10 minutes later from Pedro’s cross on the right that was just behind him, while Rondon struck a left-footed effort well wide of the left post from 30 yards out when space opened up for him just before half-time.
The west Londoners made a better start to the second half with Christensen steering a header well wide of the left post from Cesc Fabregas’ floated free-kick on the right in the 49th minute, before Moses blazed wide of the near post on the right after being picked out by Hazard’s diagonal pass five minutes later.
The visitors were presented with two good chances on 57 minutes as Rondon saw Thibaut Courtois turn his low strike wide of the near post after outmuscling Christensen to get into the area on the right, before Jonny Evans headed the resulting corner just over the crossbar from six yards out.
A stroke of luck led to the Blues doubling their advantage on 63 minutes in a move that was started and finished by Moses, who advanced towards the box from the right and was played in by Fabregas’ flick via a deflection before shooting beyond Foster from eight yards out.
Foster managed to deny the Nigerian six minutes later as he keeper got a foot to the fierce strike from 17 yards out, but the Baggies keeper was soundly beaten on 71 minutes as Hazard cut in from the right and lashed a left-footed shot inside the right post from 18 yards out.
Foster was called into action again seven minutes later as he pulled off a fine one-handed save to deny substitute Alvaro Morata from 21 yards out on the left, before Moses dragged a shot wide of the left post from 17 yards out with nine minutes remaining.
Chelsea’s chances of winning the league may be over, but they may still be a shout for the Champions League, according to the South African sports betting available online with Betway.